Canada’s Ontario the slowest to issue exploration permits — report
Ontario, Canada’s second largest province, has become one of the of the country’s main mining districts where it takes the longest to obtain exploration permits, a new report released Tuesday shows.
According to a survey of mining executives by the Fraser Institute, growing wait times for permits across Canada, and particularly in Ontario, add to the cost of exploration and may ultimately hinder the country’s ability to take advantage of its considerable mineral potential.
According to Kenneth Green, Fraser Institute senior director of energy and natural resources and co-author of the study, the problem is widespread. “All Canadian provinces need to understand that […], ultimately, uncompetitive mining policies can discourage exploration and subsequently lower job creation and tax revenue,” he said in a statement.
A quarter of industry respondents believed permit approval times had lengthened “considerably” in Ontario in the last 10 years, with an additional 43% answering it had increased “somewhat.”
Saskatchewan continues to be an industry leader and fared well in the survey.
Respondents gave the Prairie province a high approval rating with 87% indicating that they received the necessary permits within six months or less. British Columbia came in at 80%, and Quebec was at 76%. Ontario finished at 64%.
When industry was asked how often government timelines were synchronized with their own company schedules and milestones for permit approval decisions, Saskatchewan came in at 53%. Conversely, British Columbia was at 38 per cent, Quebec at 22% and Ontario was at 22%.
“To maximize exploration investment in the province, Ontario needs to put forth efficient and transparent permitting processes,” Taylor Jackson, study co-author and policy analyst at the Fraser Institute, said in a statement.
On the level of transparency in the approvals process: Ontario finished at 57% with British Columbia and Quebec at 60% and 71%, respectively.
Based on the evidence from the survey, the authors believe there is plenty of room for improvement in the country’s exploration permitting process.
They conclude that policy reform in these areas may be necessary to help Canada’s provinces and territories unlock their considerable mineral potential.